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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Stockpiling 96 million tonnes of coal

A mysterious change has been made in the Australian Government's forecasts of thermal coal production.

In March each year the "Resources and Energy Quarterly" includes 6 year forecasts of thermal coal production and thermal coal exports. The difference between these two numbers might represent domestic consumption - which is likely to mean thermal coal burned in Australia's coal-fired power stations.

BUT... In the March 2019 edition, the amount of thermal coal produced but not exported suddenly jumped 33% above what has been shown in previous years.

This is a very large increase: up by 16 million tonnes a year from 48 million tonnes to 64 million tonnes a year.
  • Where is all this extra thermal coal to go - 96 million tonnes in total over 6 years? 
  • Is it to be stockpiled to avoid mines being moth-balled because production is far greater than what customers are ordering? 
  • Is this a ruse being played out while the coal industry and Australian Government struggles to get the Adani coal mine out of the starting blocks?